Shafqat Munir Ahmad

Ashoka Fellow
Islamabad, Pakistan
Fellow Since 2008

Citation

This profile was prepared when Shafqat Munir Ahmad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
By introducing social responsibility to journalists in Pakistan, Shafqat provides them with the information, training, and contacts they need to proactively report on the country’s most neglected segments of society. After years of government control, Pakistan’s under-trained media is now consumed by stories that are either purely sensationalist or politically motivated. In response, Shafqat works to bridge the gap between journalists and civil society by creating a space for members of both circles to share information: Converting expert findings and civic understanding directly into public information. By establishing an increase in relevant media coverage, Shafqat aims to mobilize public opinion to better support women, children, farmers, and other vulnerable groups in Pakistan.

Shafqat has established four centers through his organization, Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights (JDHR). The centers each focus on a particular field and are designed to bring journalists together with leaders in civil society and academia, to sensitize them to particular issues relating to democratic norms, people-centric governance, poverty, and sustainable human development. Shafqat’s program is designed to educate journalists on key social issues and to strengthen their ability to promote a rights-based approach to social policy without disturbing regular political news reporting. While his primary focus is on training journalists, Shafqat also instructs participating civil society organizations on program promotion, media campaigns, and the creation of media information kits.

Shafqat has also established a media think-tank to complement his training efforts, conducting independent research on democracy, human rights, and media developments. In this capacity, JDHR has produced in-depth studies ranging from forest management to human trafficking, which, along with collected articles and background from key sources, are used as the basis for its media training programs.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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